Enjoy this challenge from my friend Mike Fox whose writings have been featured here in the past. -JB
100 years ago there was no television, no internet. News traveled slowly. Because of this a drought in Africa, a tsunami in SE Asia, or an epidemic in India might go unnoticed by most Americans. It was the needs within your own community that grabbed your attention. If you heard about a serious illness, a death, or a barn burning down, it likely happened to someone you knew and it could have literally been your next door neighbor. Your response might have been to bring food, offer comfort, or help rebuild their barn.
Today with instanaeous communication we know about the needs around the world. We can donate money to any cause and any disaster with the simple push of a button. When the needs are less immediate, we finance missionaries to evangelize, engineers to build wells, teachers to help educate, and doctors to treat disease.
It is a little ironic that in today’s world we know more about what is happening on the other side of the world than we do in our own neighborhood. We hire people we may not know, to minister to people we have never met, and pay with money we have never seen except as an entry in our bank account.
With this in mind, reread this excerpt from the familiar story of the Good Samaritan and pay close attention to verse 34:
33 “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him” (Luke 10:33-34).
Notice what it does not say…It does not say the Samaritan hired someone to do the dirty work. It says the Samaritan goes to him; gets his hands bloody and bandages his wounds; adds blisters to his feet by walking instead of riding; opens his pocketbook pays for the care of the beaten man.
I certainly don’t want to minimize the needs of the international community, but there is something to be said for getting to know our neighbors and neighborhoods and getting our hands dirty to solve the problems you find. It is in these face-to-face encounters that both the helped and the helper are changed.